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Practicing Gun Safety Can Reduce Gun-Related Accidents (From Gun Control, P 226-229, 1992, Charles P Cozic, ed. -- See NCJ- 160164)

NCJ Number
Date Published
4 pages
Guns are only unsafe when people use them carelessly; by educating gun owners in the proper way to handle their weapons, gun accidents can be reduced.
The number of accidental firearm fatalities decreased 52 percent between 1967 and 1988, according to National Safety Council surveys. This decline is a direct result of the increase and effectiveness of gun safety programs. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has promoted firearm education and marksmanship training for more than 100 years. Under NRA standards, gun owners should understand and be able to apply the basic elements of attitude, knowledge, and skill related to gun safety; the fundamental rules of safe gun handling; the identification and unloading of various types of firearms; the types and uses of ammunition; how to clean and care for guns; and factors in evaluating gun storage options. There are three fundamental rules of gun safety: always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction; always keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot; always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use. Regarding the last rule, a gun kept in the home for protection is essentially always in use and may be kept loaded if special care is taken. It must be stored in a secure place inaccessible to unauthorized users (children or adults) and in accordance with local laws. As a general rule, guns used for any purpose other than personal protection should never be loaded in the home. Regarding the education of children about firearms, a parent's earliest guidelines may allow the child to touch a gun, but only with permission and only if a parent is present. Should a child come across a gun without a parent present, the child should be taught to not touch it, leave the area, and tell an adult. Virtually any accident involving a gun can be prevented if a person accepts and practices the responsibility of learning safe gun-handling rules and understands how guns operate.


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